China warns against political manipulation of coronavirus origin probe

Beijing, Oct 14 (EFE).- China Thursday warned against political manipulation of a probe into the origin of the pandemic after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the formation of a new panel to investigate how the virus originated.

The WHO Wednesday unveiled a new team of 26 scientists to trace the origins of Covid-19 and emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential.

“China will continue to support and participate in international coronavirus origins probe, but opposes any form of politicization of the issue,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters.

“China has always maintained that tracing of virus origins is a serious and complex scientific issue, and that research should be conducted by scientists in cooperation,” he said.

Zhao said the United Nations health agency must stick with the report that it published in March after visiting the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first cases of Covid-19 appeared in 2019.

“WHO and relevant parties should hold on to the report done by WHO-China joint team.”

The inconclusive report ranked four hypotheses about the origin of the pandemic, suggesting more studies for a definitive conclusion.

Ties between China and the UN agency started deteriorating after WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sought from Beijing “transparency” and “raw data on the early days of the pandemic.”

However, China has maintained that it did not hide data or hinder the work of the WHO experts who traveled to Wuhan in January.

It insists that the probe in China was completed already.

The investigations, it said, should be shifted to other countries, particularly the United States.

China has repeatedly attacked Washington following a report by the US intelligence services that laid out two hypotheses like natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident. EFE


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